Mr. Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo did receive praise from Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during a visit to Washington.
“For the psychological atmosphere, the symbolic issues are important,” Mr. Davutoglu said in an interview with a small group of journalists at his Washington hotel. “Many things in our region are psychological.”
But one of the leading Republicans likely to run against Mr. Obama in 2012, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, took aim at the president’s foreign policy and defense-budget cuts.
In an address to the conservative Heritage Foundation, Mr. Romney characterized Mr. Obama’s last two trips abroad as a “tour of apology” and criticized signs that the White House might back off a missile-defense system in Eastern Europe.
“Arrogant, delusional tyrants can’t be stopped by earnest words and furrowed brows,” Mr. Romney said. “Action, strong, bold action coming from a position of strength and determination is the only effective deterrent.”
North Korea and Iran were two foreign-policy crises on which Mr. Cheney admitted the Bush administration fell short.
“We didn’t bat 1,000. No question about it. And Iran and North Korea are still out there,” Mr. Cheney said in response to a question about the growth of nuclear programs in both regimes during the eight years Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney were in office. “I wish we could have done more, but those are problems that are passed on to the next administration.”
But Mr. Cheney did assign responsibility to the CIA for both the faulty intelligence prior to the invasion of Iraq and for proposing the “enhanced interrogation techniques” that have been the cause of so much controversy.
The former vice president also said that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is not the threat he once was.
“I don’t think he can have much impact in terms of managing the organization, because that link between Obama and the people under him is pretty fragile,” Mr. Cheney said, inserting the president’s last name for bin Laden’s first, a gaffe committed in the past by numerous politicians.
“I don’t think he has the capacity to do as much harm as he did at one point, but we ought to still continue to chase him,” Mr. Cheney said of bin Laden.